Clerical Error with Jim Lamar's Ballot (posted 10/14/08)
AP voter Jim Lamar tells Pollspeak that the wrong ballot was posted by the AP in week 7. It was a "clerical error" according to the AP and was corrected two days after release. The AP also assured us that it was just a display error on their site and did not affect the actual poll results. As of 10/14/08, Pollstalker has been updated to reflect the proper ballot.
The issue was brought to our attention when we received criticism from Florida Gator fans who noticed that Lamar actually dropped Florida in his ballot after the win over LSU. They accused Lamar of "FSU bias" since he is a writer for the Tallahassee Democrat. Lamar does have the Gators lowest in the country at #13 in week 8, however, this was three spots better than his "real" week 7 ballot. He also chose not to rank FSU either week; so if he is biased towards FSU, he's not doing a thorough job. Still, Pollspeak will continue to monitor the situation. Please continue to send us feedback; you may help us catch bias or other errors.
Bad Voter of Week 7 -- Scott Wolf (posted 10/8/08)
|Name ||Good Votes ||Bad Votes ||Net Bad Votes
Pollspeak welcomes Scott Wolf back to the radar. Wolf was a regular last year -- named worst voter of the week twice along with two dishonorable mentions. He received the most net bad votes this week, and fits Pollspeak's example for the week...so the choice is unanimous.
Wolf alienated much of the state of Oklahoma, voting the Sooners lowest at #3 and being one of two people to leave Oklahoma State off his ballot. He also voted Penn State lowest at #11. He wasn't completely alone on any of these, but the combination of the three must have earned him enough Bad votes to "win."
As for Pollspeak's Pick, see our article on SI.com for the reasoning. Wolf is the perfect counter-example to how Pittsburgh, USF and Kansas should be ranked. He ranks them: Kansas #10, USF #18, and Pittsburgh Unranked. They all have the same number of losses (one) and they are ranked the exact opposite of who beat whom in their head-to-head matchups. Not only that, the gap between the teams is one of the largest. Molly Yanity actually has the largest gap between Kansas and Pittsburgh, and could have just as easily been Pollspeak's Pick, but the unpopular vote and his leaving Oklahoma State unranked pushed Wolf ahead. We're not saying that voters have to slavishly follow head-to-head rankings when records are the same, but be aware of them and have valid reasons based on how teams have played. When not ranking the winner ahead, we would think the winner would at least be CLOSE to the loser in rank.
So why did Wolf rank the way he did. We can't know for sure, but checking his voting history this year, it's obvious that he hasn't changed his votes for those teams very much throughout the year. Including the preseason, Wolf has only ranked Kansas between #10 - #14 all season long. USF #8 - #18 (starting at #17 in the preseason and #18 this week), and Pitt #25 in the preseason and unranked since. So we can only guess that his "preseason speculation" is having some affect on his current rankings.
We're also not sure why Oklahoma State isn't ranked. A good guess is the weak schedule the Cowboys have played so far, which is ranked #128 in strength by Sagarin. However, that didn't stop Wolf from ranking Tulsa, whose schedule is listed at #145. Maybe he is just trying to be kind to at least one team in Oklahoma.
PEOPLE'S PICK: Good Voter of Week 7 -- Bret Bloomquist (posted 10/8/08)
|Name ||Good Votes ||Bad Votes ||Net Good Votes
actually didn't get the most Good votes; he was third. Kirk Herbstreit
received 128 and Jon Wilner
received 116. However, those two received more Bad votes than Good (Herbstreit actually received more Bad votes than Scott Wolf). So that left Bloomquist the winner with 44 net good votes. He had fans of Boise State
in his corner. He ranked them highest at #8.
POLLSPEAK'S PICK: Good Voter of Week 7 -- Stewart Mandel (posted 10/8/08)
Since Pollspeak didn't get to pick its own Bad Voter of the Week, and this week's popular Good Voter (Bloomquist) won with an underwhelming number of votes (44), we decided to pick our own Good Voter of the Week.
Stewart Mandel was Pollspeak's first Good Voter of the Week back in week seven of 2007. The reasons then are the reasons now. This week he decided to "recalibrate" his ballot and make some significant changes. The results were well thought out. You can read his article about it here.
We hope more voters will take this tact in the future, shed their preseason conceptions, and make significant moves in their ballots based on actual game-day performances.
(Disclaimer: Pollspeak has recently begun writing a regular blog on SI.com, but this in no way affects our choices. However if anybody would like to claim bias in our reporting of bias, you may do so on the FORUM.)
Amazingly, Sports Illustrated hasn't kicked us to the curb. This week's entry covers the problem of ranking Pittsburgh, USF and Kansas. Also, are computer polls biased towards schools with good computer science programs? Check it out HERE.
PROBLEM OF THE WEEK: Pittsburgh, USF and Kansas
I knew this week would pose a serious problem for conscientious AP voters who adhere to the AP guidelines and "pay attention to head-to-head results." What should they do with Pittsburgh, USF and Kansas this week? Unranked Pittsburgh beat No. 10 USF, who beat No. 16 Kansas earlier. They all have the same number of losses (one). The ideal solution is to rank the winner of the head-to-head over the loser. So it should be:
However that was the exception more than the rule on this week's ballots. Kudos to Doug Lesmerises, Jon Wilner, Anthony Gimino, and Tom Keegan who were the only AP voters to rank them in that order, and an honorable mention to Stewart Mandel who provided the unique solution of not ranking any of them (which is a drastic but perfectly acceptable solution).
This was probably hard for many voters because it required drastic shifting of their ballots. It could even mean dropping Kansas after their win, which voters don't like doing. However, the AP Guidelines specifically say this is what voters are supposed to do. In summary, it says voters should pay attention to head-to-head results and make significant changes when necessary.
These three teams have the same record and have head-to-head match ups for reference. There is no reason to rank them out of order. If Pittsburgh isn't worth ranking yet ... then neither is Kansas. Many voters disagreed with Mandel about Kansas, but did they consider that the Jayhawks haven't beaten an FBS team with a winning record yet? The come-from-behind victory at Iowa State was not a signature win worth changing the status quo. Kansas may turn out to be the best of the three, but until they prove it on the field, only the voters above have it right (on this issue).
Tensions are growing worse between the humans and computers over who is No. 1. The human polls (Coaches, Harris Interactive and AP) still have Oklahoma No. 1. The computers still favor Alabama, and the Anderson & Hester Computer Rankings, which debuted this week, gives Oklahoma its lowest ranking at No. 7. Massey is the only computer to have Alabama at No. 2 (and Vanderbilt at No. 1).
Auburn and Wisconsin are the first teams with two losses to be ranked in the polls ... the human polls. The computers disagree, ranking them between 29 and 63.
WHO'S No. 2 AND No. 4?
With all the talk about who's No. 1, there's even more variety at the No. 2 and No. 4 spots.
Poll -- No. 2, No. 4
AP Poll -- Alabama, LSU
Harris Interactive -- LSU, Missouri
Coaches' Poll -- Missouri, Alabama
Colley Matrix -- Vanderbilt, Texas
Sagarin Ratings -- Northwestern, Vanderbilt
Massey Ratings -- Alabama, Utah
Anderson/Hester -- Missouri, Texas
Billingsley Report -- Oklahoma, USC
Why do some computers rank schools like Vanderbilt, Northwestern, Utah, Duke, USC and Texas higher? Common sense says it's a lack of bias. However, what if the computers actually have a bias for schools with strong computer departments? Pollspeak leaves no stone unturned. According to U.S. News and World Report, the computer science program at Texas ranks No. 9, Duke and USC are tied for No. 20, Northwestern and Utah are tied for No. 39 and Vanderbilt is No. 58. Impressive, but we can dismiss this theory since co-No. 1 Stanford would obviously be ranked higher by the BCS computers.
Anderson & Hester Computer Rankings Released and Massey FBS List Now Used (posted 10/6/08)
Pollstalker now includes the Anderson & Hester College Football Computer Rankings Top 50 in the BCS+AP Compiled '08 Report. Anderson/Hester is one of the six computer polls used by the BCS and was just released for 2008.
Also, starting in 'Week 7' we will only be listing FBS teams in the Massey Ratings. According to Ken Massey, the FBS list is what he sends to the BCS. BCS Administrator, Bill Hancock, confirms that only FBS teams are eligible for the BCS.